Taxing The World Wide Web

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internet sales taxI understand and empathize with the plight of state government leaders across America. I know that states need tax dollars to support their schools, roads, public assistance programs and so on. But, mandating that small business owners collect tax on sales made via the internet is not only an additional business expense in terms of human resources and systems for calculating and reporting, but logistically impossible when you consider that each state has its own department of revenue. Not only would it place one more economic burden on the small business owner, but it would also remove the motivation for customers to place orders online, as opposed to purchasing at one of the big box brick and mortar retailers, thereby eliminating the one last edge that the small business has over the retail giants.

I owned and operated a retail store for 23 years, the last 13 of which I had an online presence. The business provided one employee a full time hourly wage and me with an adequate self-employment income. If it had been required to collect tax for every sale that I made online, I calculate that I would have had to hire at least one more full time employee and double my bookkeeping and accounting expenses. On the other side of the balance sheet, my revenue would have been reduced significantly as customers no longer saw an advantage to buying online.

If states need more revenue, let it come from expanding small business. The goal here may be to increase revenue for the state budgets, but the reality will be to put more small business out of business.

Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, Chef Angela Bell
Beyond the Bull (an “eat smart” kitchen)
233 W. Main St., Central, SC 29630

Last modified: July 13, 2013
Angela Bell

This story is part of our Small Business Corner, a peek into the life and trials of small business owners.

Category: MPR Authored, Restaurants, sales, Small Business, Small Business Corner, small business owners